OKLAHOMA VS. NORTH DAKOTA STATE
When: 6:27 p.m. Thursday
Where: Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, Wash.
TV: truTV (Cox 48/HD 760, Dish 242, DirecTV 246, U-Verse 164/HD 1164)
Radio: KRXO-FM 107.7
INSIDE THE MATCHUPS
OU — Jordan Woodard (6-0, Fr., 10.3 ppg, 4.7 apg)
NDSU — Lawrence Alexander (6-3, Jr., 10.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
Alexander had a career-high 14 rebounds in North Dakota State’s biggest regular-season win of the year — over Notre Dame in early December. Woodard’s scoring hasn’t been as consistent lately, but he’s continued to run the point in an efficient way, distributing the ball all around.
OU — Ryan Spangler (6-8, So., 9.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg)
NDSU — TrayVonn Wright (6-7, Sr., 11.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg)
Spangler should be right at home having played at nearby Gonzaga as a freshman. Wright has recorded at least one block in 29 of 31 games this season and has multiple blocks in 19 games.
OU — Cameron Clark (6-7, Sr., 15.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
NDSU — Marshall Bjorklund (6-8, Sr., 13.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
Bjorklund leads the nation in field-goal percentage at 63.6 percent and is shooting 65.5 percent for his career. After a slump in the middle of the Big 12 season, Clark has bounced back to again be one of the most dangerous offensive weapons for the Sooners.
OU — Isaiah Cousins (6-4, So., 10.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
NDSU — Taylor Braun (6-7, Sr., 18.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
Cousins has improved dramatically on the defensive end over the last half of the season and consequently the Sooners have been much better on that end of the floor. That’s why he figures to see plenty of time on Braun, whose size and ability to score against a variety of defenders makes him dangerous.
OU — Buddy Hield (6-4, So., 16.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
NDSU — Kory Brown (6-4, So., 6.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
Hield has been the Sooners’ sparkplug during Big 12 play. In OU’s last seven games, Hield has hit 27 3-pointers. Brown is second on the team with 35 steals.
OU — D.J. Bennett, Frank Booker, Je’lon Hornbeak and Tyler Neal.
NDSU — Jordan Aaberg, Mike Felt and Chris Kading.
The Sooners have benefited greatly by having no injuries or prolonged slumps, and nowhere is that more apparent than in their bench play. All but Bennett can be big-time scoring threats and Bennett has improved his post defense, allowing Spangler to catch a breath late in the season. The Bison have had pretty good luck in that regard themselves but aren’t able to go as deep as the Sooners.
OU — 23-9 overall, 12-6 Big 12, No. 5 seed
NDSU — 25-6 overall, 12-2 Big 12, No. 12 seed
The Bison are no doubt a popular upset pick, with Braun and Bjorklund in particular creating matchup issues against the undersized Sooners. But Oklahoma has bounced back from poor performances well this season, losing back-to-back games just once in a tough Big 12. In the end, the Sooners depth —both in the starting five and on the bench — wins out.